Tips on Drafting

From River’s Edge Weaving Studio’s newsletter, are some good hints and tips when drafting your fibers to spin. Go to their site for even more info:

  • Fiber length – pull off a few representative fibers, and determine the longest length.
  • The longest one plus 1 inch (especially if a blend) is the minimum distance between your hands when drafting, aka attenuating.
  • When spinning blends it’s very easy to end up with a lot of one fiber of one length going into your draft, and none of the other length of fibers.
  • When your hands are the minimum distance apart, various blends of fibers will remain suspended within each other and therefore draft easier.
  • To create a softer fluffier yarn, you may wish to try taking your forward hand (closest to the orifice) and when you are ready for the twist to go into the drafted fiber, let go with that hand, bring your hand back, pinch and start over. By not sliding your fingers along said newly twisted fibers, you will end up with a softer, more natural type yarn rather than one that is stringy without much life to it.
  • For example: One of our blends is 50% cashmere/50% bombyx silk. The bombyx is long, smooth and straight (although silk does have a “tooth” to it) while the cashmere is shorter with  a totally different crimp-like texture. As this blend is as soft and light as air, a softer handling by you will result with a luscious halo effect when using the previously described technique. 

Three things can occur if you slide your hand closest to the orifice over the newly twisted fibers: heat-moisture-pressure. These are the very same principles that create felted fibers.

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